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I know it just came out today, but are there any statistics with memory requirements, system resources, power usage, and performance to decide which is better Xubuntu or Ubuntu (XFCE vs Gnome)?

My main concern is running it as secondary OS on my Lenovo T400 laptop to just get online quickly and using SSH from a terminal to connect to remote web servers.

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up vote 5 down vote accepted

It's a little early for statistics. But here's the general Ubuntu-vs-Xubuntu performance comparison, mixed with my experiences of the 10.04 release candidate. My old (~2005) laptop ran Xubuntu 9.04 quite comfortably for a long time. I don't think I ever tried the standard Ubuntu 9.04 on it.

  • Ubuntu uses a resource-heavy Gnome desktop environment by default. On my laptop the Ubuntu 10.04 RC was quite sluggish, even with desktop effects turned off. Oddly enough, the LiveCD is much more responsive than the default desktop after installing.

  • Xubuntu is Ubuntu with a lighter XFCE desktop environment. In general it's better suited for older machines with less memory and less-capable hardware (CPU/GPU/etc). XFCE is known for being very light on resources, but Ubuntu's default XFCE builds are considered heavier than normal XFCE.

  • Lubuntu is another Ubuntu desktop based on the LXDE desktop environment. It's designed to be even lighter than XFCE.

Before my laptop's harddrive died, I installed the lubuntu-desktop and xubuntu-desktop meta-packages. After they were installed I spent time trying out the Gnome/Openbox session in the login window's session chooser. (Openbox is the default window-manager in the Lubuntu desktop.) The Gnome/Openbox session was considerably more responsive than the standard Gnome session, but there were a few panel applets that were buggier than they were under normal Gnome.

I haven't yet had the chance to try the Lubuntu or Xubuntu sessions.

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In general there is about 40-50MB difference in Linuxmint Xfce vs Gnome edition (120 vs 170). (Linux mint is direct derivative of Ubuntu).

However, there was one funny thing which I observed - after enabling Compiz (visual effects theme) - there was a rise in RAM consumption (around 30-40MB) in Xfce edition - however, there was hardly any increase in Gnome edition.

The above figures are from Live CDs.

Once installed, the RAM consumption further reduces by 10-20MB.

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